Many people have found that using a simple pedometer can help to increase their level of activity dramatically. Just being aware of how far you have walked each day and striving to increase it over time can have a huge impact on your fitness level and your weight. They are cheap to buy and come with a range of features including the ability to upload data directly to your computer.
There are increasing problems associated with lack of exercise including heart and circulation problems as well as those caused by obesity. Our lifestyle nowadays tends to be too sedentary so anything we can do to easily increase our exercise levels can be a big help. Many people start an exercise program with good intentions only to fall by the wayside through boredom and lack of enthusiasm. One simple way to achieve a healthier lifestyle without having to vigorously workout at the gym is to slowly increase the distance you walk every day and a pedometer can help you to do this.
How to Use a Pedometer
Pedometers keep track of the number of steps you walk. After using the pedometer for a few days you will have a good idea of your usual distance walked and can then set goals to increase this. A good number of steps to aim for is 10,000 a day but it may take some time to reach this level. Set some shorter term goals such as increasing your step over time. If you increase the number of steps by only 2000, that is the equivalent to walking a mile more every day and will definitely have some long term health benefits. Once you have achieved this aim for the next 2000 until you are easily walking 10,000 steps every day.
Research Into Pedometer Use for Health Benefits
Research has shown that this is indeed a good way to achieve better health and fitness and also to help in weight loss. The Journal of American Medicine recently reviewed 26 studies on the use of pedometers in increasing exercise levels and concluded that they are indeed useful in this area when compared by those not using one. Steps were increased by around 2000 in one study by those using a pedometer and monitoring the number of steps taken daily. This is a 25% increase in the exercise rate of the participants and a significant improvement in their level of activity.
Setting Daily Step Goals
It is important, if you decide to use a pedometer to help in your exercise regime, to set realistic goals. Find out your base level of steps by using the pedometer for a few days then set a goal that is realistic for you. As we said earlier you should try to achieve a daily step rate of 10,000 steps but work up to this gradually by setting yourself targets. In the studies quoted above participants achieving their targets had an increased level of activity and benefits included reduced blood pressure and weight loss. However blood sugar levels and cholesterol however did not appear to be affected.
The use of a simple device such as a pedometer has been shown to be very effective in achieving higher levels of activity without the need to go to a gym or buy exercise equipment for the home. Walking is an activity that everyone can benefit from and increasing the daily step rate can have a dramatic benefit in both your health and weight. Pedometers monitor this activity in an easy way, are simple to use and unobtrusive to wear. You can buy a basic pedometer for under $20 although more sophisticated ones are available incorporating heart monitors or the ability to interact directly with your computer. Overall these simple devices can be a great benefit in your goal to achieve fitness and an acceptable, healthy weight.